Calls to Challenge Panel Decisions After Injured Soldier was Belittled by Panel

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Jonathan Cloudsdale

Military Claims Senior Associate Solicitor

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It’s been widely reported that a military officer with 26 years of service was the victim of derogatory and insulting remarks during a consultation with a civilian panel advising the Ministry of Defence on his Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) claim.

The officer involved was the victim of a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2009. The incident apparently happened when microphones were left live during a 10-minute recess in an online meeting. It was reported that they suggested that the officer ‘did not look like [he’d] had a blast injury’ and that they also laughed and said “He’s Welsh. He doesn’t understand why he is here. He can’t be that intelligent given he doesn’t know why he’s here.”

Other comments from the panel allegedly included that he was “kicking a can down the road” and “if he knows what’s best, he should withdraw the claim”.

This would not only be clearly distressing for the victim but it calls into question previous decisions which have been made and could now be challenged as a result.

The Head of Military Claims at Simpson Millar said “It is a common occurrence for service personnel to be under compensated for their injuries.  We at Simpson Millar can ensure that with the appropriate legal advice those who have served their country can be justly compensated for their injuries acquired in serving their country.”

The President of the Chambers has since contacted the officer and apologised for what he called an “unfortunate incident”. He said “I very much regret what has occurred and apologise for an offence caused to you…it sounds, from what I have been told so far that we have fallen short”

The injured officer said the comments had left him “deflated, shocked and appalled” and with “absolutely no trust or respect for the process”.

Understandably the officer felt belittled by the system that was designed to help people like him receive payments for their suffering and future health care needs. The Telegraph says that the AFCS has been plagued by complaints and delays, with critics stating that “injured soldiers have been laughed at and belittled by officials”.

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Armed Forces Compensation Review

 The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) was put in place on the 6th April 2005, and it is there so you can claim payments if you’ve been injured whilst serving in the Armed Forces. It’s designed to provide payments, irrespective of fault for anyone who has suffered an illness or injury as a result of their service.

You can make a claim for compensation through the Courts, as well as making an AFCS claim. Any amount awarded from the AFCS will be offset against the award the court makes. However, the levels of compensation can be significantly higher when bringing a claim through the Courts.

The Armed Forces Compensation scheme was reviewed in 2022, for the first time since 2017. The review found that “it is those with injuries with longer term impacts, illnesses and disorders for whom it appears the Scheme is least effective if not detrimental.”

The review concluded that the objectives of the scheme were not being adhered to because:

  • A lack of empathy on the Ministry of the Defences part when they make decisions
  • Inefficient with the proper use of resources
  • Unfairness within the scheme
  • Lack of effort to protect and safeguard in the decision-making process
  • Lack of resilience as the Scheme is not flexible in its ability to use new developments

The review also criticised Veterans UK and the MOD agency, who’s helplines are specifically in place to act as a barrier between the caseworker and the claimant.

The government have since replied to the review, and have insisted that the reviews will help to build a positive work across Government, including the MOD’s £40 million digitisation project. Read We’re putting veterans at the heart of government, an Op-ed by Johnny Mercer, Minister for Veterans' Affairs here.

If you have been involved in a military accident you have a right to claim for compensation that could help cover any care, support and rehabilitation costs you may incur now, or further down the line. Our team of Military Claims Solicitors are experts at helping you through the claims process as well as being able to assist you in getting the physical and mental support you may need. It doesn’t matter whether you are still serving or whether you have left the forces, our team are here to help you – just call us on 0808 239 0244.


Simpson Millar. (n.d.). Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Claims Solicitors. Retrieved from

The Telegraph. (2022, August 27). Soldiers laughed at and belittled military officials making payouts. Retrieved from

House of Commons Library. (2022, November 23). Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS): Recent Reviews. Retrieved from (n.d.). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved from (n.d.). Veterans UK. Retrieved from (n.d.). Ministry of Defence - About. Retrieved from

Parliament UK. (2023, July 17). Armed Forces Compensation Scheme: Written statement - HCWS956. Retrieved from (2021, May 11). We're putting veterans at the heart of government. Retrieved from

Jonathan Cloudsdale

Military Claims Senior Associate Solicitor

Jonathan is a Senior Associate Solicitor specialising in Military accident and injury claims. He runs his own caseload of military personal injury cases helping clients with a variety of case types.

Jonathan also has a background in Industrial Disease Claims helping clients who had experienced illness and diseases as a result of their work.

He has secured 6 figure settlements for clients whilst guiding, advising and keeping them informed throughout the process.

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